Dreams do come true.
Not often, but sometimes.
The stories of banking on winning the jackpot and the tales between you and your friends of what you’d do with the money if you won are timeless. The lottery has been ingrained in the culture of the U.S. for decades.
While the stories run rampant, most don’t ever end up winning any sort of large sum of money. However, there are a lucky few who have broken down the barriers of myth and fantasy and struck gold by receiving some of the largest sums of money awarded to anyone, ever.
The Top 10 U.S lottery jackpot records are the finest example of those who made it big and won something most of us will only dream about.
These records made news headlines all over the globe when they occurred. The winners have etched themselves in history as some of the luckiest people the world will ever know.
So, what are the top 10 U.S lottery jackpot records? Lucky for you, I have an answer.
We’ll start from the bottom and work our way up.
On February 11, 2015, three lucky winners finally drew the winning lottery numbers for the tenth biggest U.S lottery jackpot to have occurred.
The jackpot, through Powerball, had winners in three different states. They included Texas, Puerto Rico, and North Carolina.
That means the enormous prize of $564,100,000 was split amongst them. While it wasn’t the highest payout per ticket ever awarded, it was surely a life-changing for all of the winners.
The winner from North Carolina eventually stepped out into the media.
Marie Holmes, a single mother of four from small-town North Carolina, the lottery changed everything.
She stated that the best thing about her winning the money was the opportunity to provide everything for her children. Being a single mother of three children, all under the age of seven, the money changed her and her family’s life.
Holmes and her family were living in a single-wide trailer in a town of about 4,000 people, just off the coast of North Carolina.
She worked at Wal-Mart and had held various other low-income jobs previously.
Nowadays, she’s a stay at home mom without a worry in the world. Security accompanies here everywhere for her protection and she lives without the stress of money looming over her shoulder.
Holmes had received the ticket when she asked her mother to pick up 15 lottery tickets on her way home from church. Her love for the church still rings true as she stated she tithed a percentage of her money to her church as well as various charities.
On November 28, 2012, two lucky winners picked the correct numbers for the 9th largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever awarded.
The winners were from Arizona as well as Missouri
The prize amount was driven so high because of an incredibly high amount of sales at the time.
From October 6th until November 27, 2012, there had been 16 consecutive drawings that provided no winner. This dry streak incentivized millions to purchase more tickets for their chances of winning it all. It also drove the jackpot to enormous heights.
At the time, it was the second-biggest U.S. lottery jackpot record to ever be received.
One of the winners in Missouri came forward and took their payment in a lump sum – a total of $192.5 million.
Upon winning the extra money they stated they were considering a second adoption with their winnings and plan to spread some money to help their other relatives with expenses. They planned to spoil nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and even pay for college tuition.
The ticket was purchased at a gas station, more than likely a hopeful swing at a home run. In the end, it all paid off and proved that sometimes dreams do come true.
In total, more than one billion dollars were wagered on the amount.
Luck doesn’t care about your age.
It was proven when an 84-year-old woman from Florida won the 8th largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever awarded.
Gloria Mackenzie, of Zephyrhills, Florida bought the ticket when another customer let her go first while in line for checkout.
She was the only winner and was the largest sole winner of any U.S jackpot in history. She took the entire payment in a lump sum of a little more than $370 million. After federal income taxes, she put $270 million into her pocket.
Mackenzie, having years of wisdom under her belt, chose not to speak to reporters outside of lottery headquarters when she was claiming her prize.
She left quickly and was accompanied by two attorneys who were in a separate car.
She had planned the event as she took near the maximum amount of time to come forward and claim her prize.
A statement to the public was released where she asked for privacy for her and her family.
Some say luck is within the genes.
This may be the case for the Georgian woman who took home the 7th largest U.S. lottery jackpot on December 17, 2013.
Ira Curry, the from Stone Mountain, Georgia, picked the numbers that won it all based on birthdays from her family members.
She was one of two winners to split the jackpot. The other hailed from California.
Curry found out she had won when a radio broadcaster announced the winner tickets on-air. Curry, knowing her numbers by heart, knew right away that she had won. She double-checked her ticket to ensure she wasn’t dreaming and then frantically spilled the beans to her daughter that she had just become a millionaire.
At the time of winning the jackpot, Curry hadn’t decided what she wanted to spend her money on.
On March 30, 2012, the largest U.S jackpot of time was awarded.
While it was the biggest jackpot in history at the tie, it was split amongst three winners. They were from Maryland, Kansas, and Illinois.
A couple from Illinois was the longest hold their identities from the public. Merle and Patricia Butler, from Red Bud, Illinois, took their share of sum. It totaled $218,666,667.
The couple was overjoyed at the huge amount of money that had won but hadn’t quite figured out how what to do with it yet.
The couple, now retired, were married for 41 years before winning the lottery. They planned to assist their grandchildren with finances and buy a new car.
True to their sports team, they planned to make a few extra trips to St. Louis for some Cardinals games as well.
On October 27, 2018, the sixth-largest U.S lottery jackpot record was won.
At the time, it was the fourth-largest jackpot ever recorded and was split amongst two winners.
One of the winners, Robert Bailey, from Manhattan, purchased his ticket from a deli (of all places, right?)
Bailey was 67 years old at the time and was retired, previously working as a federal government employee. He stated that he regularly played in New York lottery games but never expected himself to become a winner. He claimed he was “in shock” when he learned that he had won big.
Bailey had been using the same numbers for 25 years in hopes of winning. He states he had gotten them from a family member all those years ago and faithfully played them every time he entered to win.
In the end, it looks like his family member was right all along.
August 23, 2017, was the day that changed Mavis Wanczyk’s life when she won the largest single lottery jackpot ever recorded in U.S lottery jackpot records at the time. The record has since been broken, but it was worldwide news at the time.
Wanczyk worked at the Mercy Medical Center in her hometown of Chicopee, Massachusetts. She learned she had won when she was on her way out the door after a long day’s work.
When she learned she won the ultimate cash prize, she started shaking. Her co-worker told her to immediately sign the back – and she did.
She was so excited and in shock about the entire situation that the same co-worker had to follow her home to ensure she was safe.
Then, Wanczyk did something we all likely wish we could do. She called her boss and told them she’s not coming back.
Wanczyk has two adult children and planned to retire early and never work a day in her life again, a dream for us all.
The good news doesn’t stop there as the owner of the store who sold her the ticket stated he planned to donate the $50,000 they were entitled to as the seller of the winning ticket. He went on to say that he wanted to donate to charities that primarily focused on education and children.
It was a win-win scenario for everyone in the community.
This giant winning of more than three-quarters of a billion dollars was, and is, the third-largest U.S lottery jackpot in history. It’s also the most recent jackpot on this list. The number was drawn on March 27, 2019.
The lucky winner was the sole winner of the entire jackpot and hails from Wisconsin.
By now you may have noticed the trend that the lottery is typically won by the older generation. Manuel Franco was happy to prove the statistics wrong as he claimed his prize at the early age of 24.
Franco started his dad broke down and cried upon hearing the news. Somehow, Franco managed to go into work the next day but was profusely sweating and feeling anxious the entire day. That was the last day he went to work.
Some may think it would’ve been smarter to take the money throughout a long period, but Franco took it all as a lump sum.
After taxes, he walked away with a little more than $326 million.
Franco stated that you wouldn’t end up seeing his name in headlines for wasting his money. He plans to live out his life as normally as possible and likely will invest most of his awarded money.
We’ve finally broken the billion mark on U.S lottery jackpot records.
The second-largest U.S lottery jackpot record was set by a single man. It is the largest amount of money awarded to a sole person in U.S history.
The winner bought the ticket in South Carolina and is a resident of the state. Because of South Carolina’s state laws, he never needed to give his identity and, thus, remained anonymous.
The smart winner purchased the ticket at a KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina, a suburb of Greenville. The population is around 22,000.
The news of a winner being from such a small town spread like fire throughout the community. Many wondered who the mysterious winner was and if they would ever come forward.
Unfortunately for their wandering minds, they never did and it remains a mystery to most people to this day.
We’ve reached the top of the top, the highest we can get, the largest amount of money awarded in any U.S lottery jackpot.
The record-breaking amount of money came after there was a significant change to U.S Powerball rules. These rules were intended to draw incredibly large jackpots. They had hoped they would be able to produce a billion-dollar jackpot by 2020. As it turns out, it only took a few months, not a few years.
After the changes, there were more than two months of rollovers with no winners being established.
As the prize reached closer and closer to one billion dollars, madness erupted. News stations, newspapers, the global news network, was going insane over the prospect of such a large jackpot becoming reality.
Little did they know, it wasn’t even close to reaching its peak.
However, the hype did serve as an incentive for thousands upon thousands of hopeful winners to buy in and hope to win it all. The massive increase in sales drove the prize up higher and high until it finally peaked at the 1.58 billion marks.
Many were expecting a single winner after all this time – what would be the odds that after two months of no winners that multiple would be picked in one day? As it turns out, it was fairly likely as three winners were announced on January 13, 2016.
One of the winners, John and Lisa Robinson, of Munford, Tennessee, was thrilled to win and even made television appearances before claiming their prize. They flaunted their luck to the entire nation and eventually took home their extravagant check for $528.8 million.
While it’s not the highest amount awarded to a single winner, it is, by far, the largest amount awarded to someone who had to split the prize among others. Even more stunning is that they received such a large amount even after splitting it with two other winners.
The second winning ticket was claimed by The Nickel 95 Trust, who were employed by their trustee, Maureen Smith, 70, of Melbourne Beach, Florida.
Both Smith and the Robinsons chose to take their prizes in a lump sum.
The third and final winners of the largest U.S lottery jackpot are Marvin and Mae Acosta from southern California. The couple had waited seven months before they claimed the prize.
They had used the extra time to establish an entire team of lawyers and financial advisers to help them along their way to becoming millionaires.